Village inn receives hotel guide accolade

Edward and Janet Boynton outside the Nags Head in Pickhill. (S)
Edward and Janet Boynton outside the Nags Head in Pickhill. (S)
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A celebrated inn near Ripon that has served travellers for three centuries has been named one of Britain’s best hotels.

The Nags Head in Pickhill is named as an Editor’s Choice for Value in the Good Hotel Guide which was published on Monday – the latest in a long line of accolades for landlord Edward Boynton and wife Janet who have run the inn for more than 40 years.

“We first built accommodation in 1980 and we still have visitors who were with us in that first year, they are not so fast on their feet but they still come back” said Edward.

“High standards and value for money are the key and that must apply in all departments. When people stay overnight they expect good food and drink, of course, but they also deserve a good shower, good towels, a good bed and very comfortable pillows. People remember when you pay attention to the detail.”

The Nags Head pillows have drawn praise from no less a judge than Alex Polizzi, star of TV’s Hotel Inspector, who stayed at the Nags while filming her other TV show, The Fixer. In a subsequent national newspaper column she described Edward as “the charming owner” and recounted an evening of “simply marvellous” dinner, “perfectly formed” wine list and “riotous” Jenga. Declaring the bed “wonderfully comfortable with proper pillows”, Ms Polizzi regaled how she left the next day “with a light heart and a song on my lips” and vowed to return.

Edward and Janet would never betray the confidence of visitors who have graced the Nags but locals confirm sightings of numerous other famous faces over the years.

It was a haunt of Prince Andrew when stationed nearby, Botham and Boycott are among scores of cricket stars to have visited, leading flat and national hunt owners and trainers regularly call in as have actors Kevin Whately and Daniel Craig.

“It’s very nice to receive awards like this because you don’t know in advance you are being inspected. Word of mouth is very important but so are respected guidebooks. People are very careful how they spend their money these days and they do their research” said Edward

Though it has made its mark nationally, the Nags Head remains an integral part of Pickhill village life with Edward and Janet sponsoring the football strip for the local primary school, equipment for the village cricket team and regularly hosting fundraising evenings. The next is on Sunday, October 12, when the annual Harvest Home auction takes place to raise funds for the school and church.